Skip to Main Content

Music: Online Musical Audio Databases

Online Musical Audio Databases

Alexander Street Press is a publisher of award-winning online collections and videos for scholarly research, teaching, and learning. This platform allows you to search across the many Alexander Street resources that this Library subscribes to.

This is scholarly resource of over 3,000 albums of recordings by American composers and artists, including CD quality audio, liner notes and essays from New World, Composers Recordings Inc.(CRI), and other important labels. The intent is to preserve and promote recordings and related material that otherwise might be lost. Users can search as well as browse by genre, artist, and label, and all tracks are annotated with artist and instrument information.


Collection of music recordings of popular/patriotic American songs from the Civil War through World War I, including Tin-Pan Alley, early Jazz and early Blues. "This database contains historical music for educational use that our research indicates is copyright free. We believe that the copyright for this music has expired or the music is in the public domain."


Jazz Music Library provides access to works by thousands of jazz artists and ensembles (many of which have brief biographies). Users can search, as well as browse by albums, titles, and genres.  Coverage ranges from past greats to musicians performing and recording today.  Liner notes to all the albums are included (in PDF format). Users can also save tracks and albums to personal playlists.


Music & Performing Arts allows users to search across multiple databases for streaming audio, video, reference, and scores.  Users can search, as well as browse using a wide variety of subject areas. Each entry contains relevant bibliographic information, as well as a brief description. Users can create playlists to save their selections.


Recordings digitized for the project are from labels owned by Sony Entertainment, which has given LC a limited no-cost license to use the materials. Comprised of about 10,000 Victor label recordings produced between 1901 and 1925, including popular, folk and operatic performances.


Naxos Music Library is the most comprehensive collection of classical music available online. It includes the complete Naxos, Marco Polo and Dacapo catalogues of over 85,000 tracks, including Classical music, Jazz, World, Folk, Chinese music, and rock and pop. While listening, you can read notes on the works being played, as well as read biographical information on composers or artists in Naxos's extensive database. Users can find synopses of over 700 operas, liner notes, and a glossary. The database also allows users to create and save their own playlists.


Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries is a virtual encyclopedia of the world's musical and aural traditions. It includes the published recordings owned by the non-profit Smithsonian Folkways Recordings label and the archival audio collections of many legendary labels; it also includes music recorded in Africa and on the South Asian subcontinent. Users can search for, and browse among, over 2,800 albums and 40,000 individual tracks, as well as research by such subjects as genre, instrument, and recording label. Albums have important bibliographic information, including links to liner notes. Users can also save tracks to personalized playlists for future listening.


Streaming audio archive of more than 10,000 cylinder recordings from the late 1800s and early 1900s housed at the UC Santa Barbara Library, including vaudeville, opera, country music, ethnic music, historical speeches, and more. In addition to curated thematic playlists, the entire collection is searchable by genre, date, keyword, author, subject, or year.